ILEA Legacy Member Q&A: Pat Pfohl
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Pat began her career in the special events industry in 1975 working in hotel catering. She moved quickly through the ranks of several large hotel corporations from Catering Assistant to Director of Catering. By her tenth year in that field she was the Director of Catering and Convention Services Director. She then turned to a different arena within the events’ industry and worked in the party rental industry for the next eighteen years. She received the Presidents’ Award for top sales person from Classic Party Rentals several times.
ILEA: Looking back over the course of your career, what has been the most influential factor that has shaped the direction of the events industry?
Pfohl: My observations, by decade, are as follows:
- Late 1970s – Events focused on the food and beverage components vs. décor
- 1980s – Themed events became a trend with specialized entertainment.
- 1990s – Audiovisual technology advanced along with expanded décor options.
- 2000s- The peak and sudden decline of extravagant events. Along with enhanced security after 9/11.
- 2010s – The reach of special events to audiences beyond physical attendance of the guests. Advanced technology has shortened event planning and broadened the opportunities to gather information in an instant with the touch of a button.
ILEA: What is the one piece of advice you wish you had at the beginning of your career?
Pfohl: Looking back, I wish I had found a mentor to direct and advise along my career path.
ILEA: Looking forward, what you anticipate will be the most significant trend to shape the future direction of this industry.
Pfohl: Social Media is the new way to build your brand, advertise, engage prospects, and give your organization credibility. Social Media can also drive traffic to landing pages that can promote new products or ideas.
ILEA: What does it mean to you to be considered a mentor or leader in this industry?
Pfohl: I am humbled to be an industry leader. Little did I know in the late 70’s when I began as a catering manager at a small hotel property what would be possible in the events industry during my career.
ILEA: Please describe the value of being a member of ILEA and what this has meant to your career.
Pfohl: ILEA programs and events created opportunities for education that increased my skills and ability to work on better and bigger events. The relationships along the way a very valuable both professionally and personally.